Mushrooms are most commonly known for their nutritional benefits. But recent studies have shown that the humble mushroom has another advantage in eliminating the human papillomavirus (HPV) found in cervical cancer cells. The discovery highlights a potential treatment to the disease that has affected and killed thousands of women annually.
Researcher and lead author of the study, Dr. Judith A Smith from the University of Texas discovered an extract from mushrooms called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) showed to have slowed the growth of tumors. The study, which was started in 2008, showed the compound’s “potential to treat the HPV infection.” While current vaccines, such as Gardasil and Cervarix which are available in the market, proved to be effective in preventing the infection, its effects target only certain strains. Hence, other treatments are needed to essentially decrease incidence and mortality rates from other strains. The research, presented at the Society of Gynecological Oncology’s annual meeting, showed AHCC to have shut down infection both in vitro and in vivo.
They tested the compound in cell cultures outside cervical cancer patients. After which, they used the same compound to treat an HPV mouse model. Both resulted to the elimination of virus within 90 days. Smith noted that, “AHCC is a common, well tolerated nutritional supplement that has been used for decades in Japan.” Adding her excitement to be “pursuing a nutritional approach to trying to find a treatment for HPV infections.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that an estimated 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year because of late detection. HPV vaccines and Pap smears have helped reduce the number significantly in recent years. Many studies have been made to lower the mortality rate of cervical cancer patients and Smith’s research is just one of them. Another study from researchers in the Queen Mary University in London called for expanding screening tests beyond younger women.
[via Medical Daily]